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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Disease sufferer blames government
Cull
Paul Stamper may have caught the disease during a cull
A farm worker who doctors suspect has caught the human form of foot-and-mouth disease has accused the government of not warning him of the risks involved.

Paul Stamper, a 33-year-old father-of-two from Dearham in Cumbria, believes he may have contracted the disease when a carcass exploded in his face while he was helping to transport dead animals.

He fears that if the illness is confirmed, he will not be able to work as a farming machinery contractor again.

Tests being carried out on six other men it is thought may have contracted the disease.

Diseased carcasses

Mr Stamper told ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme that he had not been warned to wear a mask while working with diseased carcasses.

Brewis
Bobby Brewis: The only recorded case in 1967

"Now the government is saying there is some slight possibility of catching it.

"That wasn't the case when I first went on (to the farms). Nobody was led to believe there was a slight possibility of catching this.

"The public will probably just think, if I get the all clear, there's just a cover up behind it and I might have it and they might not let me on their farms. It is quite worrying."

The only previous sufferer from the human form of foot-and-mouth disease was Bobby Brewis, who contracted the illness in the 1967 outbreak and never worked in farming again.

Tests

Mr Stamper's foot-and-mouth like symptoms were first noticed by Dr Peter Tiplady, of North Cumbria Health Authority who sent samples to a laboratory for testing.


We've probably felt a bit like lepers over the last couple of days

Paul Stamper
Six other men are also anxiously awaiting results from the Public Health Laboratory which will confirm whether or not they have the disease.

Mr Stamper was standing beside a tractor carrying diseased carcasses to a funeral pyre when it exploded showering him with fluid. Some of the fluid from the animal went into his mouth.

He developed flu like symptoms two weeks after the incident and last weekend his throat was sore and he had blisters on his mouth and tongue.

He said he also had pains in his feet and claims he feels numb below the knees.

Mr Stamper said in the last week he had felt like an outcast.

"We've probably felt a bit like lepers over the last couple of days but nothing in the same extremes as the farmers have felt because I feel its devastating what's happened to them."

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See also:

26 Apr 01 | Health
More human foot-and-mouth feared
23 Apr 01 | Health
'A mild and transient disease'
23 Apr 01 | Health
Human foot-and-mouth: The history
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